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Sharing the Road

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 Road Rules 101: Turning right across a bike lane

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Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

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Christopher Togawa Insurance Agency marks 30 years. Read all about it here in the Queen Anne & Magnolia News!

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Is making that glass claim really worth it?

Chris-Smith

Driving Northbound on I-5, I was behind a semi-truck and had a weird feeling that something might happen. From the truck’s tires I could see dirt chips creating a momentary mini cloud of dust on the freeway. Then, I heard a loud WHACK.

At first, I thought, “Wow, I’m lucky, no crack!” But the next morning, the truth was spread across my windshield.

Unless you have one of those $1000+ windshields, making a claim for windshield repair or replace-ment probably isn’t worthwhile. Sure, companies will reimburse you, but even being reimbursed may not be worth the impact to your insurance rating profile and future rates.

Here’s the scoop...

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September is National Preparedness Month

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Experts suggest these steps as a good place to begin:

  • Create a family communication emergency plan
  • Have a survival kit for three days in your car, home and office
  • Know where your gas, electric and water shut-offs are and how to use them
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Equifax Breach and Identity Protection

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Here’s a link you might find helpful in understanding the recent Equifax breach and some action items for you to consider.

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Washington's Electronic DUI Law Now in Effect

Washington's E-DUI law, which bans the use of any hand-held personal electronic devices while driving, is now in effect. Violations are reportable to insurance companies! Be informed by visiting the Target Zero website for more details.

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Should You Purchase Earthquake Insurance?

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​ The decision whether to purchase earthquake insurance is a difficult one. Homeowners must choose between paying more for coverage or having no coverage for what could be a very catastrophic event. Many homeowners have no earthquake coverage even when living in an area such as ours where there is a possibility of a significant magnitude earthquake occurring some time in the next several decades. Given the increasing values of homes, the decision to purchase earthquake insurance should be appropriately considered. Homeowners typically...
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Safeguard Your Identity

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With summer just around the corner many people are planning vacations and preparing to travel. Traveling can be a time when risk of identity theft increases since we use credit cards frequently. Identity theft is a serious crime that is increasing at an alarming rate. About 1 in 7 U.S. residents over age 16 was a victim in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Misusing someone's credit card account is the most common kind of identity theft. According to a recent survey compiled by the US Federal Trade Commission, more than 3 m...
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The Road More Traveled

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Receiving your auto insurance renewal and seeing that your rates have increased can feel very personal. I know, I've had that feeling on a number of occasions over the years.  Even understanding how insurance rates are set, it doesn't make me feel any better to see a rate increase. Thoughts that may cross your mind: ​ "I've been with the same company for years!" "I pay on time; my driving record's clear!" "But my cars are getting older!" ​ The reality is our region continues to show immense population growth, resulting in more traffic cong...
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The Super Friends Referral Program is Our Way to Support Our Community

The Super Friends Referral Program is Our Way to Support Our Community

Our Super Friends Referrals program helps local nonprofits every time you refer CTIA to your friends and family. Any time you make a referral to CTIA and they contact us, we make a $20 contribution to a local nonprofit organization. Super Friends Referrals is our way of both giving back to the community and finding great new clients.

The biggest compliment you can give us is a referral to your family and friends. We’ll take care of them the same way we do all of our clients: with expert advice, unmatched service and a commitment to long-term relationships.

So be a Super Friend and refer CTIA to your friends and family, and help support local nonprofits that make our community a better place to live.

In 2016 we donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound and The 5th Avenue Student Education Program.

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Full Circle - the Lou Gelfand Story

Full Circle - the Lou Gelfand Story

One of the most rewarding aspects of our work is the relationships we build with people. We are grateful to get to know so many wonderful families, often generations deep, as they grow and change. We would like to share a story about one family in particular, by whom we have been especially touched.

In 1994, Lou Gelfand approached Christopher about his insurance needs. He had recently moved from Detroit to Seattle, having retired from General Motors after 48 years. Christopher and Lou hit it off and Christopher made sure Lou had the insurance protection that was needed. They both enjoyed the spontaneous connection that evolved over the years. Christopher always looked forward to their conversations and enjoyed getting to know Lou on a personal level. Through the years Lou shared many things about his life, including his grief when his wife Rose passed away, not long after they moved to Seattle.  Seattle was a special place for Lou and Rose, spending time with their son Jerry and his family, longtime Seattle residents. Over time, the discussions Lou and Christopher shared became more about life than insurance.  “He was truly special,” Christopher said. “I appreciated every discussion we had, especially the life lessons, experiences and stories Lou shared with me.  This is clearly one of those connections that leave a lasting impression on you. I still remember the day I received the call from Jerry telling me that Lou had passed away. In that call, he acknowledged the special relationship his dad and I had shared. That meant a lot, and really made me reflect on all the great talks we had.”

A couple years passed and Christopher received a phone call from Lou’s daughter Judith.   She had just moved to Western Washington from New Jersey and wanted to thank Christopher for the relationship her dad had spoken of over the years. So, it is true, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Judith became a client of CTIA in 2005 along with her two daughters, Laura and Eva.

And the generations continue. Eva continues to insure with CTIA, and as a successful realtor in Seattle, Eva often refers her clients to Christopher and his team. Oh, and when Laura and her then fiancé began planning their future, Judith let Todd know that she had the perfect insurance agent for the two of them. Todd, being a smart son-in-law-to-be, responded with care because he liked his own insurance agent. His name: Christopher Togawa.  Small world…Wow – that’s bringing it full circle!

Getting to know and serve three generations of the same family is a privilege that we feel honored and grateful to enjoy. It is the people we take care of that give meaning to what we do. We thank all of you for entrusting us with your family’s protection.

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Want Our Calendar? Let us Know!

Want Our Calendar? Let us Know!

We hope you enjoy receiving our annual calendar, created by local nature photographer Bruce Heinemann. This winter is the last year that we will be mailing our calendar to everyone. If you would like to continue receiving it, please opt-in by completing this form. Thank you.

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Is Your Valentine Covered?

Is Your Valentine Covered?

Your mother’s engagement ring. Your grandfather’s gold watch. The diamond earrings your husband gave you for Valentine’s Day… What would you do if you lost them? Precious treasured items should be insured against loss, particularly jewelry which can be easily lost or stolen.

Standard homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies typically include some coverage for jewelry and other precious items such as watches, fine arts and collectibles. Like other belongings, high value items are covered for losses caused by all the perils included in your policy such as fire, windstorm, theft and vandalism.

However, there are special limits of liability for certain items, meaning that the insurer will not pay more than the amount specified in the policy. One important limit is for the theft of jewelry. To keep coverage affordable, standard policies have a fairly low limit for theft coverage, typically at or about $1,500 per item. (Please review your policy for specific limits.)

If you own valuable jewelry or other items that would be difficult to replace, you should contact us to learn the details of your options such as scheduling specific items. This article on Safeco’s blog provides some helpful tips about scheduling jewelry and other valuable items. If you aren’t sure whether you should purchase floater policies for your valuables, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

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Distracted Driver Awareness Month

Distracted Driver Awareness Month

APRIL is Distracted Driver Awareness Month, a good time to consider facts about distracted driving. Here are a few collected from recent studies:

Drivers are four times more likely to crash if using a cell phone, whether or not it is hands-free.Drivers talking on cell phones can miss seeing up to 50% of their driving environments, including pedestrians and red lights.A National Safety Council review of the scienceconcludes that "hands-free devices offer no safety benefit when driving." New studies show that using voice-to-text is more distracting than typing texts by hand. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that even built-in, voice-activated systems can impair brain focus for up to 15 to 27 seconds.The average time taken away from watching the road ahead while texting is "just" five seconds; in that time period, a vehicle traveling at 55 mph will travel the length of a football field.Distracted driving caused 3,477 traffic deaths in the U.S. in 2015, a 9% increase from the previous year.In Washington State, distracted driving deaths rose from 130 in 2014 to 171 in 2015, and nearly a third of the overall 556 traffic fatalities in 2016.Studies have found that using an electronic device impairs reaction time as badly as driving intoxicated.
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Is Your Teen Really Ready?

Is Your Teen Really Ready?

Most teenagers can’t wait to get behind the wheel, but just because your child has reached the legal driving age and wants to drive, that doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is ready. Driving is serious business, especially on today’s crowded roads with cell phones and other distractions adding higher risk.

Since your child’s life and the lives of everyone else on the road are at stake every time they get behind the wheel, it is essential that parents evaluate their teen’s maturity and responsibility before handing over the keys. Gauging a teen’s readiness to drive requires honestly assessing his or her individual temperament and behavior, which will be different for every child. Don’t feel obligated to let your kids drive just because they have reached the age or their friends are driving. We encourage parents to use your own judgment and trust yourselves; you are the best judge of your kids’ maturity. Listen to your gut, not to their pleading! If you're feeling uneasy about handing over the keys, even just a few months of waiting could make a big difference.

If your 16 year old is irresponsible when it comes to things like doing her chores and getting her school work done, she may not be ready for the responsibility of driving. Or if your teen shows reckless behavior or high susceptibility to peer pressure, he may not be ready to take the wheel responsibly. You might have one child who is mature enough to safely handle the responsibility of driving at age 16 and another who still isn’t ready by 18. Driving is not one size fits all! Evaluate each of your kids as the individuals they are and don’t let concerns about fairness or peer pressure get in the way of making a smart decision.

When you do reach the decision that your teen is ready to take the wheel, make sure you are protected. Adding a teen to your auto insurance is a good time to review your policy to make sure you have the right coverage for all of your risks and needs. Although there are costs for adding a teen to your auto policy, the first way to reduce the cost is with the Good Student Discount for students with a 3.0 GPA or higher – a good incentive for your teen to keep up with their grades, especially if he or she will be helping pay some of the insurance costs. Bundling your renter’s and auto insurance policies helps you save even more.

If you have a teen reaching for the wheel soon, give us a call.

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Make Old Glory New!

Make Old Glory New!

Get ready for Flag Day and the Fourth of July with a brand new flag. 

In honor of Flag Day, this June we’ll be offering a free flag exchange. Bring in your old, faded flag to CTIA and we’ll replace it with a brand new one.

This is a great opportunity to trade your not so glorious stars and stripes in for one a brand new one. Drop them off at CTIA from 9 a.m .and 5 p.m. anytime between June 6th and June 14th.

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